Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

No, the Goth cat Triana’s kibble was on time and eaten; rather the headline refers to Third Flatiron Publishing’s Kurt Vonnegut tribute anthology CAT’S BREAKFAST (see May 17, April 27), also served up on Kindle this morning. That’s Kindle, not kibble, for which via Amazon one may press here, with a paperback edition expected from Createspace in the near future.  To quote from the blurb:  While satire and humor have long been standard tools of the trade for fiction writers, the authors have channeled the uniquely Vonnegutian attitude into all-original stories that probe and instruct us on themes such as free will, mental illness, social cruelty, loneliness, and family.  The book [also] contains a flash humor section.  (This from the publisher’s own site, with this next from Amazon)  The new “Cat’s Breakfast” anthology from Third Flatiron pays tribute to the imagination and inspiration of the late author Kurt Vonnegut. Emulating Vonnegut’s famous “gallows humor” and skeptical view, these all-original satirical stories are a delightful antidote for the malaise and division plaguing contemporary society.

What more can one ask for?  My puss in the purée is “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” originally published in SO IT GOES, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s 2013 tribute anthology (cf. April 24 2013, et al.), a modern morality tale of sorts of a thoroughly up-to-date young lady, a science fair, and . . . bears.

Then in other news, a third review of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is now up on the Amazon site.  This is the one from THE GEHENNA POST (cf. June 3), an extremely good description in my opinion, and can be seen in situ by pressing here (where one may note also that Amazon is still offering a substantial discount, but not quite as big as it had once been, so perhaps one might buy now lest the price go up further 😉 ).

A warm June day and, for something completely different, how about a post that doesn’t have anything to do with TOMBS (which is still on discount on Amazon last time I looked, incidentally, just click on its picture in the center column)?  Or, serendipity strikes once again!  See, it seems I was just moseying like through the Internets and what should I teacup_chappen across but a still-live link to a humorous saga concerning the herding of cats (ah, now, Triana), originally published in NUKETOWN in March 2001, but here reproduced as an electronic reprint from SPACE WESTERNS (SPACEWESTERNS.COM, from which also the illustration to the left), May 2007.*  So now as a lagniappe, a little free thing you get once in awhile for no particular reason at all except that it’s there, a kind of a story I don’t write too often, a tall tale:  “Catskinner Sweet and the Twirling Teacups of Deadwood City.”

To read, press here.
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*As a curious footnote, this is also the only story I’ve had reprinted in the Netherlands, in the magazine WONDERWAAN for June 2011.  Translated in Dutch, for those who wish to know, the story appeared as “Kattendrijver Sweet en de Draaiende Theeschotels van Deadwood City.”

Lovely weather hereabout, at least, as a good start for June.  Maybe a little rain on Sunday (but maybe not) and what looks to be a whole week more of sunshine and high-seventies/low-eighties highs.  But one cannot survive on niceness alone, eh?  Certainly not horror mavens like us!

So, to the rescue, courtesy of THISISHORROR.CO.UK, comes . . . HORRORFREAKNEWS.COM and “Top Ten Horror Cameos in Popular Cartoons” by Joshua Millican, for which press here.  Just when you thought it was time to relax with an innocent laugh (my favorite at first glance is Number 7, when Homer Simpson meets C.H.U.D and the Mole People).

Sunday’s weather belied the predictions of afternoon storms which perhaps helped May’s Bloomington Writers Guild “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic,” in conjunction with the Monroe County Convention Center, garner fifteen participants who stayed the whole time.  The featured poets were native Hoosier and Americorps veteran Charles Culp, with poems on such things as diners (“the liquor store closes, the church closes, but the diner’s still open”) and the art available just by looking around one, among other topics, and Virginia native Breon Tyler, a visual artist with a degree in Painting and Printmaking, currently completing a masters here in African American and African Diaspora Studies, who started with a work by a poet from Sierra Leone as well as recent poems of her own  Then after a break, six non-scheduled poets read from the audience, of which I was sixth with three somewhat summer-themed poems (parties, vacations, poolside relaxation) from my VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) collection, “Through This Wicked, Winding Way,” “Why She Started Writing Poetry,” and “Moonlight Swimming.”  Last Sunday Poetry will resume August 27 following a a two-month summer hiatus.

Then a second item, simply for fun on a holiday weekend, or, I don’t usually cover politics here but. . . .  But satire does count as literature and this one is difficult to resist, a “claim” by satirical site THE ONION of having “Obtained Hundreds of Trump Documents” including, well, a number of topics from which one may choose after pressing here.  And for horror fans (thus bringing it under this blog’s purview, ahem) I especially recommend, under “Family,” Melania’s letters home to her mother, particularly the last concerning an apparition seen one night on the White House lawn of. . . . (but be sure to read her other letters first).

A quick follow up to April 27th’s post just below (paragraph two).  Later that p.m. what should e-appear in ye olde electronic mailbox but the promised contract from Third Flatiron Publishing for “Dead Girls, Dying Girls” to appear in CAT’S BREAKFAST, this being the title for their Kurt Vonnegut inspired summer anthology.  As opposed, that is, to the Goth cat Triana’s morning kibble.  So this afternoon I emailed back my agreement plus some extra requested information on form of payment, current address, etc.  And again, more to be told here as it becomes known.

(Meanwhile as I write this the Goth cat Triana, who is experiencing the first spring ever in her young life, has captured either a small spider or a member of the cricket colony that inhabits my basement briefly in fall and spring, on an all too tragic visit upstairs.  After some play, she has apparently eaten it, so I can’t say for sure which it is [I suspect the spider].  She does appear to have enjoyed it, though.)

So, still reeling (sorry) over the post on Horror Movie Dances (see April 4), are we ready for something now for the children?  Ah, the internet!  To bridge the generation gap then, let us consider “8 Dark Kids Shows You Can Watch With Your Little Weirdos,” courtesy of Jinx Strange on DIRGEMAG.COM.  I still remember Billy and Mandy (the latter of whom, in a way, helped inspire a story of mine called “Dead Girls, Dying Girls”) and INVADER ZIM, and perhaps local goth cat Triana might also like to meet COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG.  But there are some others that look interesting too, so let us peruse them together by pressing here!

MEET CUTE (cf. November 23), the flash fiction anthology of unexpected, eccentric, or just unusual meetings of couples, has had a few changes in scope, according to Editor Kara Landhuis.  An immediate one is a change in pre-publication funding from Kickstarter to Indiegogo, deemed a better fit for a smaller publication’s actual needs.  For other news, publication is tentatively planned for January for distribution in February; the funding project itself will close December 31.  meetcute

As Ms. Landhuis explains, MEET CUTE was born out of a love for several things, most notably:  Storytelling and connection.  I wanted to create a book that celebrates human connection, and I thought there was no better way than to invite writers and illustrators to collaborate.  MEET CUTE will include around 20 short stories (very short — fewer than 1000 words each) written by writers from around the world.  There will also be 10-15 black and white illustrations that enrich the stories.  My own entry in this is “Butterfly,” a saga of forests and fairytales — or was that insects and axes?  To find out more, one will just have to buy the book, or for an inside track, check out the Indygogo crowdfunder by clicking here.

In other action, The Bloomington Writers Guild’s December business meeting and end-of-year party was Saturday afternoon.  As in previous years, it ended with an open reading for about a dozen participants, my contribution (in lieu of a story which I suggested I’d save for February’s First Sunday Prose, as being perhaps a bit long for this session) was three Santa Claus poems, posing the question — especially in the case of the first two, which also appear in my collection VAMPS — do we really need Krampus?

I had had to skip the open mike part of last week’s Last Sunday Poetry due to getting ready for early check-in for my “Raising the Dead” reading at that evening’s Ryder Film Festival (see October 31).  This week, however, all was on schedule for November’s “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic” (cf. October 3, et al.) with local short fiction writer Tom Bitters and a tale of young love nearly torpedoed by an inflatable doll named Mistress Ping; poetry and prose performer Gabriel Peoples with the rambling and funny quasi-historical “The Story of Jack Daniels,” including audience participation; and First Sundays MC and co-sponsor (with host venue Boxcar Books) Bloomington Writers Guild member Joan Hawkins with more of young love, the “Ballad of Renee and Buzz,” and the start of a second piece, both examples of creative nonfiction.

The crowd was reasonably large at the start although, as sometimes happens, it thinned down to about half its size during the break, after which two people read at the open mike session, me and local poet and essayist and sometimes short fiction writer Tonia Matthews.  My piece this time was of young love also,”Smashing Pumpkins,” that of the vampires Aloysius and Vendetta in an adventure of Halloween, ice-blood (or is it “bloodcream”) cones, and rampaging clowns, all ending up with a trip to the polls on Election Day.

Saturday this week offered a farewell of sorts, afternoon and evening retrospectives as a final tip of the hat to ten years of the Dark Carnival Film Festival, a.k.a. in its final sessions, Diabolique International Film Festival at the Indiana University Cinema (cf. September 28 2015; September 21, 20, 19 2014).  These were films from past years, fifteen shorts for the matinee session that proved to be favorites from previous screenings, some that I’d seen before, some that I hadn’t, starting with one in a dentist’s office and ending with killer shopping carts, and by small boys reading an Ancient Tome from their devil-worshiping deceased grandfather’s chest.  The best of these tended to be black humor, of which there were quite a few, while another trend was for movies that set up horror situations, then left the outcomes to viewers’ imaginations.

Then evening brought, taint02well, to quote the catalog:  Long one of the Dark Carnival Film Festival’s favorite features, THE TAINT is a throwback to classic Troma films — with all the goopy horror and absurd humor that implies.  Tainted water begins turning men into misogynistic head-smashing psychopaths, and our two young heroes must brave the bizarre world that results in order to find a cure.  Contains mature content, including violence, language, and sexuality.  To which the docent offered before the screening, “A great one to go out on . . . a very extreme film,” and, “offensive is a dime a dozen [but] is wonderfully measured.  [Director Drew Bolduc] knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Or as Kevin Dudley on Amazon put it:  one particular quote from the Fangoria.com review stated “THE TAINT is exactly what happens when smart filmmakers intentionally make a stupid taint1movie.”  The basic plot involves an experimental penis enlargement drug that turns men into oversexed misogynistic maniacs is unleashed into the public water supply and all manners of depravity cut loose.  To which I might add, while not one to invite the whole family to, as Troma films go it was not a bad one.

Then back at home, Saturday’s street mail brought its own prize, Flame Tree Publishing’s deluxe edition of MURDER MAYHEM SHORT STORIES (see September 6, July 11, et al.).  My story in this is “Mr. Happy Head,” originally published in WICKED MYSTIC, Spring 1996, and sandwiched between Dick Donovan (J. E. Preston Muddock, 1843-1934, who took his pen name from his fictional Glasgow detective, who in turn, some theorize, supplied the slang term “dick” [to pardon the expression] for an American private detective) and, in a non-Sherlock Holmes adventure, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Also expected from Flame Tree Publishing is CRIME & MYSTERY SHORT STORIES, for which keep watching here.

“Yes, we’ve been at this for twenty years now!

“Ten years ago we published FLUSH FICTION, VOLUME I:  STORIES TO BE READ IN ONE SITTING.  Now, only ten years later, we’re doing it again. Once again these amazing writers are saying it in — well, most of them in less than a thousand words!”

Such is the blurb for FLUSH FICTION II:  TWENTY YEARS OF LETTING IT GO (cf. May 21, March 27), which arrived in my mailbox today.  Edited by Selina Rosen, this celebrates Yard Dog Flush 2twenty years of publishing by Yard Dog Press in the press’s charmingly unpretentious way.  In fact, two other posts here can be found on August 1 2013 and April 8 2011, or thereabouts, noting not just the first FLUSH FICTION but their BUBBAS OF THE APOCALYPSE series, in which I have stories in four of five volumes, as well.

My entry in this one, published in June, is called “Killer Kudzu,” a tale of horticulture gone bad in the American South.  And without a happy ending either, but perhaps shocking enough to scare the. . . .  Well you get the idea, and to see for yourself (plus explore around to see more of the Arkansas ambience of Yard Dog Press) as well as perhaps buy a copy press here.




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